Google Inbox team working on 'undo send' functionality

Google's new Inbox email platform could get an 'undo send' feature, according to its development team, which is also working on opening the service to tablet support, and a mix of browsers.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Members of Google's Inbox development team have revealed that the company is working on an "undo send" feature for the invite-only app that provides a new front end to Gmail and other inboxes.

In a Reddit Q&A on Wednesday, three members of the Inbox team offered Redditors an update on the development of the platform.

Asked whether the platform would receive an undo send feature, a Google Inbox software engineer identified on Reddit as Taylor K said: "Yes, we're working on it right now."

In fact, an undo send capability, along with cross-browser support, were two features that the software engineer said he wished were ready to include in time for Inbox's launch on October 22.

"Both are being worked on, but just weren't ready in time for launch," said Taylor K.

It is unclear at this stage whether the proposed undo send feature would work in the same way as the Google Mail Labs' 10-second undo send setting in Gmail.

However, Taylor K confirmed that the Inbox team is working on cross-browser support as well as the undo send feature, along with tablet support for the app and Google Drive integration.

"We're working as fast as we can on enabling other browsers as soon as possible," he said. "We're already doing Google-wide testing for cross-browser support, but we want to make sure that everything works perfectly before enabling it for all of our users."

Additionally, a Google Inbox team designer identified on Reddit as Jason C said that the company is looking into the possibility of a unified inbox, which would allow for multiple addresses in a single view.

"That is something we've received many requests for. We're actively looking into it. One of our design principles is that features should work the same way across all platforms, so if we were to build this, it would need to work seamlessly across the web, smartphones, tablets, etc," said Jason C.

Jason C also said that there is a "long list" of Gmail features that will eventually come to Inbox, including signatures and Google Calendar integration.

"We really want to balance building those features with building out new features that continue to improve the Inbox product concept. You'll see lots of these smaller additions (along with big new things) arrive over the coming months. This is all about prioritization," he said.

Asked why Google chose to establish an entirely new email platform rather than simply integrate Inbox functionality with Gmail itself, Jason C suggested that Google wanted to "start from scratch" in order to tackle changes in the way people use email.

"The way people use email has changed a huge amount since we launched Gmail," said Jason C. "With Inbox, we took a step back and did a lot of research into how most people are using email today. What we found was that email works as a to-do list for many people, that phone usage is starting to eclipse desktop usage, and that many people have negative feelings towards email because it feels like so much work.

"We built Inbox as a separate product because we didn't feel like we could solve those problems by just adding more features on to Gmail. We needed to start from scratch to build a tool that really helps you stay on top of your life," he said.

The Inbox team's Reddit session comes as Google announces new functionality allowing Gmail web users to easily open and edit Microsoft Office attachments with a single click.

The company said in a Google Drive blog post that with just one click on its new edit icon in Gmail attachments, users can automatically convert any Office documents sent as attachments to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

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